Thousands sign petition to reinstate services on Matlock to Nottingham line
and live on Freeview channel 276
Services on the line were first cut in June 2021, with East Midlands Railway struggling to run a full timetable due to the amount of staff that were self-isolating.
Gary Parsons, who organised the petition, runs a HR consultancy with offices in Belper and Nottingham.
He said: “This has seen a huge level of disruption to passengers travelling for leisure, education and employment. A single journey has typically increased from 45 minutes to nearly two hours at peak times, which is really frustrating when you’ve got so much to do.
“Those travelling for work in the NHS and working for Nottingham’s major employers including Experian, HMRC and the universities are amongst those affected.
“Not only does this impact those that work or travel to these locations for education, but the longer term impact on tourism and leisure could be catastrophic.
“Already, commuters are switching to cars and this is likely to have an impact on air quality around these locations. We’re all very conscious of our emissions, we want to reduce them as much as we possibly can, but this is forcing us to do the opposite.”
An East Midlands Railway spokesperson said: “In recent months we have been working to improve our services and as a result, we were able to reintroduce 22 trains to our base timetable in December.
“We have been clear that we would like to go further and provide more services, but this was dependent on a continued improvement in Covid-related absence, further improvements in our Nottingham hub and the delivery of additional trains.
“Regrettably, we have not received additional trains and we do not have a firm timeline for their arrival. As such, we have reached a point where we must bid and plan a timetable based on the resources and information we have at this moment.
“We understand this is deeply disappointing for our customers and we are very sorry we are not able to reintroduce through services between Matlock and Nottingham at this time.
“We are continuing to investigate other options which may help to mitigate the impact on customers and if they are viable we will share further information as soon as possible.”
In response to EMR’s statement, Mr Parsons said: “They’ve said they’re waiting for additional trains, but where are the trains that were there in the first place, which were okay? Have they added new services elsewhere, and we’re losing our essential service that had been running for so long?
“With the Government talking about levelling up the north and midlands, it feels like we’ve gone several steps back- we need to get back to where we were before we can start going forward.
“The important thing here is that it’s not just people trying to get rail services back, this is genuinely affecting people’s lives. Wives and husbands travelling to work, kids going to college for the first time, business owners trying to grow on the back of the pandemic and NHS workers attending clinics.”